The Cooper Union
School of Architecture


A public park and a memorial at the WW II prisoners camp in Fossoli, Modena, (It) 1991

The competition called for the restoration of the WW II prisoner camp in Fossoli, its transformation in a memorial for the war prisoners, and for the design of a public park. The coupling of the two programs, a park, furnished with playgrounds, outdoor cafe and restaurant, and the remains of a prisoners camp trnsformed into a Memorial, presented an obvious and significant challenge.

The design solution originated from specific considerations given to the area's landscape, an horizontal surface disseminated by finite artifacts such as farm houses, roads, irrigation canals, and from a criticism to the tradition of public parks landscaped picturesquely or by perspectival axis.

The park, a finite artifact consisting of two parallel linear promenades contained within a unified "constructed section" and located at -1.20 m. and +0.60 m., is at the same time part of the anthropic landscape and privilege point for its unconventional observation. In plan the two promenades form an arch, a negation of the perspectival tradition, anchored at its extremities by two parking area and, on the north side, by a recreational area equipped with playgrounds and outdoor cafe.

The proposal for the camp is also divided in two part. The northern area, the area of the prisoners' barracks, was to be repaired and consolidated in its actual state of ruins. The southern part of the camp, characterized by a small variety of different buildings and defined by brick paving, contained all the public functions required by the competition; an adjacent area was to be excavated so to create a depression in the landscape, a site for public ceremonies furnished with three auditoriums and a service building.

Professor, Proportional-Time Faculty